Category Archives: philately

A Very Presley Christmas 2021

May I present our 2021 holiday cards? I loved them so much and I couldn’t wait to show you, even though I think some may still be arriving or on their way.

Last summer, I asked Donovan if she would draw something for our holiday card and she agreed. I still love and use the stationery she drew for my birthday a few years ago. I asked her to draw a tree with ramen, cocktails, mail, and a tuna underneath–a few of our favorite things.

Then, I shared this picture of Presley on Instagram. She was looking very grumpy in a Santa hat and Donovan decided to add Presley too. We couldn’t have been more delighted.

I had the cards printed as flat cards (like a postcard, not folded like a greeting card) because I don’t write long messages in my holiday cards. It was the perfect little greeting. (And thanks to my friend Mark at Printing Plus for printing and delivering them to me!)

In addition to our cards, Donovan surprised us with these wonderful faux postage stamps. She was inspired by Presley to draw holiday stamps of a bunch of cats she knows for her Patreon supporters. (If you scroll back on her Instagram (@dovbee) you can see them all. Or you can join her Patreon and download them all!) I used our stamps to decorate the envelopes of our cards that went out to cat lovers and Presley fans.

I hope it was a good holiday season in your mailbox and I’m looking forward to writing some mail this week and I ease into the new year!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post–just genuinely love Donovan and her work and Mark’s print shop!

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Mr. Zip Is My Boyfriend

There is an Invasion of the Scarecrows happening in Forest Park for Halloween. It’s a fundraiser for the Historical Society and the Arts Alliance and I was so excited to participate. It didn’t take me long to land on Mr. Zip for our scarecrow. His cartoony face and his simple blue suit wouldn’t be too complicated to make for someone like me who has zero drawing skills.

We picked up our kits in August and this is what it came with–a simple wooden cross base, the fabric sewn and ready to design for the head and some other crafting things that I didn’t use. I pulled everything out of the garage on Monday night to get started. (The scarecrow was “due” on October 1st…) I got the rest of the stuff–a simple blue t-shirt and sweatpants, loads of felt, and some blue fabric–online throughout September while I marinated on his construction.

I decided to use felt for his face because I am terrible with fabric paint. I freehanded his eyes, nose, and mouth while looking at his pictures online. It’s not a perfect depiction, but as my dad likes to say, “Close enough for a town this size.” The hat was fashioned with swear words, magic, blue fabric, and yellow and black felt. I doubt it will last through a rain storm to be honest.

And I just cut some buttons out of black felt for his “jacket” and sort of safety pinned everything together. He has a little wire running through him to help his arms hold their shape. I made him a little bag and a letter out of felt and called it a day.

The actual putting him together was the least fun part–I don’t know how I was thinking it would work–but I think an engineering degree would have come in handy.

If you’re local, there’s a map on the Historical Society of Forest Park’s website and the idea is meant to get people out around town to check everyone’s out. There’s a contest, too, for the most artistic, most historical, Forest Park Pride, and people’s choice. I think the competition is going to be fierce! I hope to get out to get some pictures of other scarecrows soon and I’ll share them here. In the meantime, please enjoy these pictures of Presley. She’s made a bed of the excess felt in my stash and I guess it’s all hers now.

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Write On Check-In

write_on, national card and letter writing month, vintage postageHow is everyone’s letter writing coming along? As of today, I’m ahead of the curve and hoping to finish strong. The last week is always the hardest because I’m either behind or desperately losing steam. (But it’s not like I don’t have extra time right now!) I’ve been having a lot of fun with rubber stamps and vintage postage this month. I love a good stamp collage, themed or not.

In a huge mail fail, I was in a rush to get a birthday card out to my coworker on Saturday morning and I forgot to put a stamp on it. Oops. write_on, national card and letter writing month, vintage postage, easter mailwrite_on, national card and letter writing month, vintage postagewrite_on, national card and letter writing month, vintage postageDear Hancock, quarantine mail, write_on, national card and letter writing month, vintage postageI couldn’t resist ordering some pandemic cards from Dear Hancock earlier this month, even though I’m still making my way through my greeting card collection. Does anyone have enough self-control to not buy more cards and stamps even though you have plenty at home?

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Nengajō Day

nengajo, 2020 new year postcardsWhen we decided to go to Japan over the new year, I was so excited to send nengajo! On January 2nd, Naoto took me to the post office at Tokyo Station so I could write my postcards and send them with new year stamps. I bought these cards at Loft on New Year’s Day. It’s the year of the rat, so I ran with the mouse theme. nengajo, 2020 new year postcardsThe Japan Post issued these cute stamps for 2020. There’s some kind of lottery involved with them, but since I sent them overseas, I’m not sure what a winner would do if their number was drawn. Station master's office, Tokyo StationI wrote all of my postcards in the letter room at the Kitte mall while Naoto entertained himself at the station master’s desk. Letter Room, KitteSomething new since the last time we visited is this &Post mobile letter writing truck. We didn’t get to see the truck in action but I’m following it on Instagram to see what happens. They also had this book, Letters by Noriko Kudo. I love the colored pencil drawings and the collaged pages with handwritten letters. (I’ve been on the hunt for a copy of my own since we got home…I want to add it to my library of mail books. I wrote the last of my nengajo on the Narita Express on the way to the airport. I also stocked up on some postcards for next new year because there were so many good ones! (Of course those don’t have mice or the year 2020 on them!)

nengajo mailboxP.S. There is a special mailbox for the nengajo.

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Halloween Mail

I have been very behind in my correspondence–I was responding to letters from June, so it felt good to catch up with some of my pen friends. I think I like Halloween mail more than Christmas mail…maybe it’s just that it feels like there’s more time to attend to Halloween mail. At the last stamp show, I tried to collect some “scary” stamps. I was so excited to score the ten cent Legend of Sleepy Hollow ones, and I also picked up the Movie Monsters, Pharmacy, and Houdinis. I had the Alfred Hitchcock stamps leftover from a few years ago. Usually when I use vintage stamps, I leave the rest of the envelope blank so the stamps really pop, but I also bought a ton of great Halloween washi tape in Japan last year, so I was excited to use some of that too. Everything is still relatively simple…In my Halloween stash, I also found some unused decorated envelopes from one of Donovan’s mail art parties.I pulled this one out because it was basic enough to add vintage postage without too much distraction. The bats are from a torn napkin, so I slid the envelope into a plastic card sleeve (leftover from a birthday card I sent) and put the address on some vintage gummed tape that has the texture of bandages. (So spooky!)

In spite of my many, many stamps, I had Naoto pick up a few sheets of the latest USPS Halloween stamps. Have you seen them in person? They look fine on the website, but they have a bit of metallic shine that is very impressive in person. I’m looking forward to finishing out the month with those!

 

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Vintage Postage Mail

Happy Monday! It is gorgeous out today and I’m looking forward to some lanai time this afternoon. We’ve been enjoying cooler temperatures and no humidity all weekend and it just feels so good to open the windows and take a break from the air conditioner. Today I’m sharing some of the mail I’ve been sending out lately. I’ve been using a lot of vintage postage on my letters instead of washi tape and other decorations. It’s been fun piecing together random stamps or theme stamps. I’ve been able to take some time to sift through my collection since I reorganized everything after last month’s stamp show. I don’t think my system is perfect by any means, but it has helped me use up more of my stash, so I guess it’s working for me. Maybe I should share here? It’s also helped that I’m pretty caught up on my mail, so writing a few letters and finding stamps for them isn’t overwhelming me like it might when I have a huge stack of letters to return. And Naoto has been taking my letters to the River Forest Post Office for hand cancellation. He’s made friends with Paul and Vicky who are both amazing and friendly and efficient dreamboats. You don’t have to have your vintage postage hand cancelled, but if you don’t, your stamps are at risk of getting a big black sharpie mark swiped across them…it’s very sad. (I was trying to find an example in my mail but I can’t so I’ll send you here if you’d like to see what I mean.)Sharpie mail makes me so sad, but I get it…time is of the essence at the USPS and they have to cancel the stamps so that people won’t re-use them. To me, it’s worth saving up a few letters to get them hand-cancelled. I have broken into a number of complete sheets and it feels so good! I use a tape runner to attach the stamps. I am a bit of a germphobe so I try not to lick things that have been handled by many people. (Some of the vintage postage comes in plastic protector sleeves, but some comes naked.) Also, I’ve had stamps fall off on the way to their destination so a permanent adhesive ensures all postage survives the trip.  These were some of my favorites–thank you notes to book club friends who I know would appreciate the literary stamps! Fun fact: out of all of those stamps, we have read everything except Emily Dickinson (because we don’t read poetry. Oh, and I guess we didn’t technically read Little House on the Prairie but we read Farmer Boy and The Long Winter so it counts in my book!)

So that’s my mail for the past few weeks. I’ve sent some letters with the new Sesame Street stamps too…they are so cute and I’m just really excited to see Guy Smiley get his due.

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